We now have all of our lift-served ski trails open after adding Curecanti to the list this weekend. This trail is tucked away on the Southwest corner of the ski area and is accessed from the Skywalker trail or through a roped gate near the top of the Pioneer Lift. Curecanti is known for wind-loaded snow and the regular formation of a large cornice.
The ski trail is also accompanied by a 230kV Western Area Power electric Line. This power source (and ski trail name) originates from the Curecanti National Recreation Area along the Gunnison River. The Recreation Area was established in 1965 to manage the land on and around a series of hydroelectric dams.
In 1965, Blue Mesa Dam was completed, and the largest body of water in Colorado, Blue Mesa Reservoir, was formed. Blue Mesa Reservoir is located just west of the town of Gunnison and is 20 miles long with 96 miles of shoreline. While Blue Mesa Dam does produce hydroelectricity, its primary purpose is to store water.
Completed in 1967, Morrow Point Dam is 12 miles below Blue Mesa Dam and creates a deep, narrow reservoir between the steep walls of the Black Canyon. The primary function of Morrow Point Dam is the production of hydroelectricity. With two 83,000kw generators, its power capacity is 172,000kw, almost twice the power capacity of Blue Mesa Dam.
The powerline briefly enters Monarch ski area with three towers dropping into our permitted area before continuing its journey down to the Poncha Springs electric substation.